Can I Get Social Security Disability for Depression and Anxiety?

By / April 2, 2017 / Applying for Social Security Disability & SSI Benefits / 104 Comments

You may be able to get SSDI for severe depression and anxiety, if you can prove your symptoms are truly disabling. We explain the steps you must take to have your case approved if you are qualified.

Winning a successful disability claim on the basis of depression or anxiety is difficult unless your symptoms are severe and you can prove they are debilitating enough to interfere with your work.

Documentation could include medical treatments and consultations from recognized mental health practitioners and facilities, a treatment history for your symptoms, and a work record which reflects a disrupted work schedule due to your medical condition. Below are several approaches to supporting your claim.

Advertisement

The Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are terrible afflictions that can completely turn your life on its head. There are treatments for these illnesses, however often they become long, drawn out intervention plans that may not be completely effective. Dealing with such medical problems can be overwhelming, and adding financial pressures because of lost time at work or medical costs just make the situation worse. Nonetheless, there could be help in the way of payments to you through the Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income programs, both administered by the Social Security Administration.

Depression is the most common not-imminently fatal medical condition leading to disability in America. The World Health Organization has identified depression as the number one cause of disability in the world with over 300 million sufferers.

Depression causes a person to feel a significant state of sadness, guilt, inadequacy, dejection, and despondency. Along with such feelings there maybe insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleep, lack of energy, reduced or no sexual desire, and appetite loss or excessive eating.

Anxiety is another frequently seen emotional condition. Although different from depression it sometimes accompanies depression and has some similar symptoms including a sense of foreboding, and obsessive thoughts. Anxiety can range from low-grade chronic worry to strong feelings of fear to outright panic and is often accompanied by agitation. The symptoms can also include uncontrollable sweating, nausea, increased heart rate, or shaking, even chest pains that mimic a heart attack.

Causes of Depression or Anxiety
Although it is not clear, family genes or other biological reasons may cause or influence  the emergence of depression. It is not uncommon to see these conditions shared by members of the same family. Depression may also be brought on by changes in one’s life such as divorce, death, or a job change, however, such periods of depression normally resolve themselves within a relatively short period of time. However, if such a severe mood lasts every day for two-weeks or longer, then depression may require treatment to be resolved. If your depression has been persisting, it is important to seek treatment early, both for treatment and to document its existence and severity should you have difficulty recovering and have to file a disability claim.

Anxiety may come on for no apparent reason or may also be familial. If left untreated, anxiety can worsen to the point that it interferes with the ability to concentrate and complete tasks needed for normal work activities. Some individuals’ anxiety reaches the point that they may refuse to leave their homs for fear of triggering an episode of panic.

Anxiety Disorders
Let’s take a closer look at  the five types of recognized anxiety disorders.

  • General Anxiety Disorder
    Approximately six months of near constant state of worry, not related to a single event, results in a diagnosis of general anxiety disorder.
  • Social Phobia/Anxiety
    Irrational feelings making a person fearful of events, social settings, or objects, leading the person to avoid them.
  • Panic Attack
    Repeated and unprovoked feelings of panic or terror lasting ten minutes or less.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    Witnessing or being a part of a traumatic situation which causes repeated bouts of acute distress six months or more after the precipitating event. Symptoms may include involuntary intrusive memories, avoidance of potentially triggering situations, reactivity, disassociation, and other symptoms.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    Repetitive thoughts and feelings forcing the person to repeat a task or behavior over and over again. To be disabling, this must cause severe distress and impede functioning in a work setting for a claim to be approved.

Social Security Disability Claim for Depression or Anxiety
Depression and anxiety can be difficult to prove because there is no laboratory test to establish these problems, so it becomes a subjective judgment. Experts must rely in part on a patient’s words to express their feelings; however there are a number of ways to make your claim more concrete.

The actual types of depression or anxiety do not concern SSA nearly as much as how those conditions are impacting your ability to work.

The First Step
The first step in your claim review is a determination of whether your are working at a substantial gainful activity (SGA) level In 2017, substantial gainful activity is defined by SSA as the ability to earn at least $1,170 gross wages per month or, if you are self-employed, the ability to earn $1,170 net profit and/or work eighty hours per month. If you are blind or legally blind, the threshold is $1,950.  If you are performing SGA, your claim will receive a technical denial without a medical review. However, it is important to note that the dollar amount considered in the SGA evaluation is your earnings after they have been reduced by any Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE’s), which include but are not limited to medical treatments and medication for your disabling conditions.

Listed Disabilities
If work activity and earnings do not disqualify you, there are two methods for SSA to make a determination on the validity of your claim for benefits. One method uses the Blue Book, which lists various serious medical conditions and the symptoms or findings the conditions must cause to be listed. This provides a quick look for the disability examiner to assess whether you meet the requirements for depression or anxiety without considering your work history or transferrable skills to make the determination that you not work either in a past occupation or a new occupation.

To meet a listing for depression, you would need any four of the following impairments:

  • Lack of energy
  • Suppressed or enhanced appetite
  • Lack of interest in general activities
  • Difficulty in focusing on a task or in clear thinking
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lack in any physical activity
  • Fatigue
  • Guilt or feelings with worthlessness, or
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, or delusions

and extreme limitation of one or marked limitation in the ability to do two of the following

  • Understand, remember, or apply information.
  • Interact with others.
  • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace.
  • Adapt or manage oneself.

or

The mental disorder has to be “serious and persistent;” that is, a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:

  • Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder and
  • Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life .

Coupled with these, there must be a lack of social interaction, problems with focusing, extended and reoccurring periods with symptoms becoming worse, and problems with activities of daily living (ADL).

To meet the listings for anxiety, you would have to have three or more of the following:

  1. Restlessness;
  2. Easily fatigued;
  3. Difficulty concentrating;
  4. Irritability;
  5. Muscle tension; or
  6. Sleep disturbance.

For a panic disorder or agoraphobia listing, you would have to have one or both of the following:

  1. Panic attacks followed by a persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences; or
  2. Disproportionate fear or anxiety about at least two different situations (for example, using public transportation, being in a crowd, being in a line, being outside of your home, being in open spaces).

For obsessive-compulsive disorder, you would need to have one or both of the following:

  1. Involuntary, time-consuming preoccupation with intrusive, unwanted thoughts; or
  2. Repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety.

And extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning:

  1. Understand, remember, or apply information.
  2. Interact with others.
  3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace.
  4. Adapt or manage oneself.

Or the mental disorder has to be serious and persistent; that is, you have a a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least two years, and there is evidence of both:

  • Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder; and
  • Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life.

Medical-Vocational Allowance
If your condition does not meet the listings, your claim will be evaluated for possible approval as a Medical-Vocational Allowance. This means that both your vocational and educational background will be considered.

Medical Records
The claims examiner will review your file and obtain the relevant medical records that were listed when you filed your application. For a claim specifying depression or anxiety as a source, medical records from certified or licensed mental health professionals would be best. This could include records of examinations or treatments from psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health clinics, or hospitals. MSW counselors’ and mental health nurse practitioners’ records and opinions are not given as much weight as those of psychiatrists and psychologists. If you are getting your care only from a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner or psychiatric social worker because those are the mental health professionals available in your geographic area, be sure to mention the reason on your application.

Make certain your doctor’s report has sufficient details as to how your symptoms affect your daily life and how effective the treatment plan turned out to be. If you were prescribed medication but chose not to take it, SSA may use this against approving your claim based on the assumption that your condition is not as severe as you claim or you would follow the treatment plan. However, if not being able to afford the medication or severe side effects are the reasons for not taking medications, those could be acceptable reasons. During the time your claim is reviewed, carry on with your regular consultations and treatment plan to continue building your medical file.

The Impact of Drug and Alcohol Use
Alcohol or drug problems can send your claim completely off course because Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits are not payable for disability caused by drug or alcohol use. This means that if your medical records indicate alcohol or drug abuse, dependency or addiction, you need to submit evidence that you are independently disabled due to a mental illness diagnosis irrespective of any alcohol or drug use. Otherwise, the disability examiner may reach a conclusion your disability is solely from, or materially contributed to by, that usage. For example, your depression might be determined to be a result of excessive substance abuse. A statement from your doctor could help by saying that you have a free-standing mental illness irrespective of the addiction. In addition, if you have a documented period when you were clean and sober but still suffered from depression or anxiety, it would strengthen your case.

Part of the investigation could be that the disability examiner would order a one-time consultation to be completed by a doctor SSA pays for and approves. The downside to this method is it may not produce a favorable result for you as far as approving your claim. The reason is that the doctor will only be seeing you one time and may not really be able to determine how your condition limits your work activity or the correct source of the limitations.

To avoid having your case rely only upon a consultative exam, your best chance of winning a claim approval is with thorough documentation of examinations, consultations, medications, and a complete medical history of your condition. Couple those with all your work records showing how your work activity has been affected.

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Evaluation
For the SSA to approve a claim for depression or anxiety when you do not have a condition that meets the listings, your limitations and your work history and education must show that you cannot perform SGA in any occupation you’ve worked in the past and in any new occupation. To do this, the claims examiner considers the skills you have from prior work, your education, and your age as well as your mental health residual functional capacity and compares those elements to the mental requirements of potential occupations. Your physician or a consulting physician may be asked to complete a mental status RFC questionnaire, which evaluates your ability to work with people, concentrate, follow instructions, submit to authority, and other mental and emotional capacities needed to work. Alternatively, the examiner may extract this information from existing medical records. Your residual capacities will then be compared to the mental and emotional demands of occupations that you could do if you did not have mental health limitations.

If You Are Denied
If your claim is denied, strongly consider getting a copy of your claim file and seeking advice from an attorney who specializes in depression and anxiety Social Security disability claims. That way you can get a professional opinion as to whether an appeal would be worthwhile.

If benefits are approved, a review called a continuing disability review (CDR) will be conducted in the future to determine whether you are still disabled at that time. Accordingly, it is important to remain under the ongoing care of a mental health professional.

Advertisement

Can I Get Social Security Disability for Depression and Anxiety?
Rate this post

  • Dear Hope,

    The only expenses considered are set allotments for your own support and for the support of any minor children you have who are not disabled. If you do not have other non-disabled children, your income is too high for a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) federal payment and is about $150 to high for a New Jersey SSI state supplement.

    With regard to resources (assets), if your income were within limits, you could have $2,000 in countable assets including savings accounts and your disabled child could have $2,000. Any excess you have would count toward your child’s limit.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • mick

    Is there a law firm that has there on doctors associate with them

    • Dear Mick,

      I am not aware of attorney firms that have physicians on staff. An attorney might use a consulting physician for an expert opinion or recommend that you get certain testing done.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Shelly,

    It is good that your claim is being thoroughly reviewed because you are more likely to get a correct decision about whether or not you are disabled as defined by Social Security law. I don’t know why a supervisor might be handling the claim unless the DDS is short-handed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    It is hard to tell what the representative’s intentions were when she told you how approved claims are handled. She may have just been giving general information. Hopefully, you will have a letter soon.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dallas,
    If you did not receive the notice that your claim was denied, you can still file an appeal on the decision. You have sixty days from the date you found out your claim was denied. You will also have to provide a “good cause for late filing” along with the appeal forms. This is your statement explaining why your appeal is being filed late. If your statement of good cause is denied, your appeal will be considered a new application and a new medical decision will be made. Make sure to report any change of addresses to Social Security, because your claim can be denied, if they can’t contact you.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Kimberly,

    Please see my response of earlier today to your first post. Comments are not visible until one of our moderators reviews them and replies.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    You got a very unofficial notification that your son’s claim probably has been approved. Interesting how she told you while she also said she couldn’t tell you. Do keep in mind, though, that the decision is not final until the letter has been written and reviewed and signed by the judge.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kim,

    It is good that the judge has made a decision and that your son’s appeal is moving through the letter writing process. You will not know what the decision is until you receive the letter.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Paris,

    Usually the decision is not given out verbally, especially before the letter is written and the decision is finalized by the judge’s signature on the letter. How long your appeal will wait to have the letter written up depends on how much of a backlog your hearing office has. You might be able to get an estimate of the average time in letter writing in your office by calling to inquire.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Paris,

    Hearing decision letters are long and detailed whether they are an approval or a denial and take about the same amount of time to get to you. If you are in danger of losing housing or having utilities cut off, you can submit a statement of dire need. If you do so, be specific about the details of the dire need situation and attach any documents you have to support the statement. Such a letter can speed up processing by a little bit. The other thing you could do, just for information, is to ask the hearing office when your claim went into writing and typically how long does it take to get through writing in their particular office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    The information you got from the paralegal is correct. Even if your claim was eligible for a decision on the record without a hearing, the review would not take place until you turn came up for review and assignment to a judge. In the meantime, as you proceed with your medical care, keep your attorney updated so that the attorney can obtain updated medical records periodically.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    Some ODARs do have a review process for claims that the attorney believes can be paid without a hearing, which really are few and far between by the time they get to the hearing stage. But keep in mind that the fact that you need surgery on your neck does not mean you instantly qualify for disability. Some people work right up until they get surgery on their necks, backs, knees, etc, although perhaps in a lighter capacity, and then are back to work within a month or 2. It’s really all about your restrictions in functioning. The best thing to do is talk to your lawyer about all of the recent important developments in your medical condition and see if you can put together a plan to get you paid earlier. Perhaps, based on the severity of your surgery and past records, he might think you have enough to push for a review, or perhaps he might think you need more. Best to speak to your attorney. Be open and honest with them and keep them updated and if they are not giving you the customer service you think you deserve, let them know and perhaps shop around for a different attorney.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Tracy,

    Thank you for the additional explanation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tracy,

    It is not enough for your doctors to say that you can’t work and for how long. They have to point out evidence in your records and explain how that evidence proves you are limited and exactly how you are limited. Then the social security examiner can decide if these limitations are consistent with your records and use those limitations to explain why you can’t work. This type of evidence will not go as far at the initial and reconsideration stages of the disability process because at those stages there are medical examiners that rely on your records and statements to decide if you are disabled. However, at the hearing stage where you go in front of a judge, these judges put a lot more weight into this type of evidence. But again, if all it says is that you can’t work for 6-12 months, that gives your judge no idea of why you can’t perform any job full time, and that’s what they need to know. SSA has information on their website about the amount of time it takes to get to a hearing once you appeal to the hearing level found here: https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Tracy,

    Additional medical problems make it more likely, not less likely, that you could be approved. The attorney’s office notified SSA about the new diagnosis so that you might have a better chance for approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Katherine,

    If you are unhappy with your attorney you can try to get a copy of your entire exhibit file on a CD from ODAR and shop around your claim to other attorneys. However, you will need to either bring them the CD to view or download the information and somehow forward it to them. At your age, it is a lot easier to find another representative, who will just share the 25% back pay amount with your current attorney. However, it’s going to be hard to find one that will help you get to the CE. First, you need to ask if SSA can provide a ride for you to the CE which they sometimes can. If not, and if you have a doctor that will back you up and explain why you can’t travel by bus to the CE, then your attorney should let the judge know what the exact nature of the problem is and try to work out something else with the judge, like maybe he can order a different type of exam that can be performed closer to your home. Keep in mind the judges office and the office that schedule exams do not communicate with each other. The judge just tells them what kind of exam he wants and they schedule it without telling him who it’s with or how far away they are, so the judge has no idea this has become such a hardship for you. If your attorney won’t tell the judge, you should, and you should put it in writing and submit it as part of your record. Then work with the judges assistant and the office scheduling the exams to work something out.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Sha,

    Decision letters will be sent both to you and your attorney.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sha,

    If you are mentally disabled, you do not have to be physically disabled to be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    I’m sorry but I would have no idea.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Linda,

    I’m sorry but I can not tell you anything about your chances of winning with that limited information.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Linda,
    The disability advisor said thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Linda,

    Some ODAR’s have a program that allows people who meet certain criteria to ask an ODAR senior attorney to take a look at the claim to see if it can be paid without having to wait to get in front of a judge. If the senior attorney doesn’t think you qualify by reviewing your claim (they will not speak to you, just review everything in your claim) you will go back in line to wait for a regular hearing with a judge. Also, if there is suddenly a major change in your condition, you can sometimes ask for a review by an attorney so you do not have to wait for a hearing. But if your medical or financial condition or case has otherwise not changed since the reconsideration level, you are unlikely to get approved by a senior attorney at ODAR, but you can still try. Talk to your attorney to see if this is a good idea in your case and if your ODAR may accommodate such a request.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Linda,

    ODAR stands for Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. These are the local offices that handle your claim at the hearing level. This is also the office you will go to for your hearing, unless your hearing is scheduled at a satellite office. For more information on ODAR offices around the country, check Social Security’s website here: https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Linda,

    What does ODC stand for and are you directing this information to another visitor to the site or were you wanting us to respond?

    Thanks,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    Since you are working with an attorney, you should probably give it to them. You may also want to ask them to review it along with everything they have in your claim so far and give you an idea of what kind of difference, if any, it may make in your claim. Also ask them what else they may recommend you do to help strengthen your claim.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Linda,

    Speak to your attorney as they know your claim best. Some ODAR’s have programs where claims with new, material evidence can get reviewed by an ODAR attorney before having to wait to get to a judge. But your attorney should be able to answer this question for you. If your illness played any part in being fired from your job, be sure to explain to your attorney and even try to get a written statement from your employer about the problems you were having on the job that caused you to be let go. Tell them that you have health problems although you have been trying to work while applying for disability and perhaps they will be willing. If the employer will not, perhaps a co-worker who observed your symptoms or functional problems at work, would make a statement.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Linda,

    Speak to your attorney as they know your claim best. Some ODAR’s have programs where claims with new, material evidence can get reviewed by an ODAR attorney before having to wait to get to a judge. But your attorney should be able to answer this question for you. If your illness played any part in being fired from your job, be sure to explain to your attorney and even try to get a written statement from your employer about the problems you were having on the job that caused you to be let go. Tell them that you have health problems although you have been trying to work while applying for disability and perhaps they will be willing. If the employer will not, perhaps a co-worker who observed your symptoms or functional problems at work, would make a statement.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Michael,

    It is not possible to tell whether your claim has been approved or not. You should be getting a letter soon.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    An “A” means a wage earner has applied for Social Security benefits on his or her own earnings record. An “HA” means a disabled wage earner.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    A benefit verification letter is a letter or online letter that tells you the amount of your current benefit or if a one-time back pay is scheduled, it may show the amount of the one-time payment.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Touzdi,

    The examiner Social Security sends you to does not make the determination in your claim, he just provides a current exam so they have a clear picture of your current state if they don’t think your records show enough information. That doctor’s exam will be sent to another examiner or doctor to make a decision based on your complete file. You can still reach out to your Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and ask them to get the paperwork back to Social Security ASAP. They may then cancel the appointment with their doctor if they think they have enough information in the LPC’s report. If they don’t, they will still send you to their doctor but the person who makes the ultimate decision will have your LPC’s records to consider in addition to the Social Securities doctors.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Linda,

    This response is to both your posts. It is possible that the two people were talking about two different things. One that you are medically approved and the other could have been saying that although you are medically approved your claim is still pending calculation and release of payment. I suggest that you call the Disability Determination Services (DDS) and talk with the examiner who requested you attend the consultative examination(CE) to find out whether your claim is still waiting for the CE exam before a decision is made or the claim was approved without it.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tracy,

    The questionnaire indicates that your appeal is being actively reviewed, which is good, but it is not an indication of approval. Notification of a fee agreement is routine and also isn’t a sign of approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Raymond,

    At this point an attorney can’t help much. Be sure to attend the requested consultative examination. Also, make a list of the records you want considered, especially test results, and surgical reports. Then call the examiner and ask him or her whether all of those records have been received. If not, say that you will follow up to the medical provider to get them submitted and that you want them considered in the decision. Follow up with a letter saying specifically which records you are obtaining for consideration. If you are denied, that would be the time to hire an experienced Social Security attorney.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear P.,

    Here is the answer that was provided.

    Dear P.,

    I am not able to assess whether or not you will be approved for benefits. It depends on how severely your conditions affect your ability to work versus how well your symptoms are controlled with medication and other treatment. The judge requesting more records is neither good nor bad. He or she is just being thorough in getting all evidence possible before making a decision. If you have not received a decision within sixty days of when they received the records, you can call again for a status report.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Dear Linda,

    The examiner either wants more information or a second opinion. Be sure to attend the examiner.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Martin,

    If you applied on March 25, your claim has been pending three and a half months and the typical processing time is two to five months. Given that you were just asked to submit your work history report, I’d say that work has just started on your claim, so you likely have some time still to wait for a decision.

    I don’t think you can request a copy of your medical records from the examiner while your initial claim is pending. If it is denied, you can request a copy of the claim file. What you can do now is ask whether or not the examiner received the specific records you want considered; that is, the records of specific medical providers for a specific range of dates. If they have not been received, you can follow up to the providers to get them submitted.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Phil,
    The Windfall Elimination Provision may affect how your benefits are calculated. If you didn’t pay Social Security taxes on your work earnings from your public employer your Social Security will probably be reduced. There are some exceptions. This is a reference you can use to see if the provision applies to you. https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/wep-chart.html
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Michael,

    The Social Security Administration is letting you know that your administrative hearing before a Law Judge has been conducted and they are now checking to make sure there is no outstanding evidence before making a final decision on your claim. If you do not get a decision letter within 60 days, you can call your hearing office for a status report.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Advisor

  • Dear Leilani,

    The general guideline for a decision after a hearing is sixty days, but it can take less or more time. How long it takes to get benefits after you have a favorable hearing decision depends on whether you are approved for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability or both. You might be able to speed up the hearing and post-approval processes if you submit a statement of dire need based on getting close to being evicted. I suggest you discuss this option with your attorney.

    If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your SSDI claim will be sent to a central payment center, where they will double check that you were insured on the date of your established date of disability; calculate your benefit amount applying any offsets you might have, such SSI (see below), workers compensation, or public pension; and authorize payment. This can take two months or more. Back pay is typically paid two months or more after the first monthly benefit.

    If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your local Social Security office will calculate and authorize SSI payment. Before payment can be calculated, a financial update will be needed from you if your claim has been approved on appeal and even sometimes as an initial claim if it has pended a long time. The office will contact you for a financial update so that benefits can be calculated for past months. Usually you will be paid within a month of the update interview and submission of any requested documents.

    If you were approved for both, the SSDI benefit calculation will be deferred until the SSI calculation has been completed and will start a month to two months after SSI processing is complete. SSDI back benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSI benefits payable for the months in which SSDI and SSI eligibility overlaps. Typically SSI back pay is paid in up to three installments six months apart and the first two will not exceed $2,205. However, if after your Social Security starts, you are no longer eligible for SSI due to your ongoing SSDI benefit, you can request the remaining SSI installments to be released. Also, if you have a compelling need for more than the initial installment, you may also be able to get early partial release of part or all of later installments.

    Regarding how far back benefits will go, if you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), benefits begin to accrue the later of twelve months before the month you applied or the sixth full calendar month of disability as established by Social Security.

    If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and your established disability date is prior to your application date, your benefits will begin the month following the month of application unless you applied on the first of the month in which case benefits begin with the month of application.

    While you are waiting for your decision, your family may qualify for SNAP (formerly called food stamps). You might consider filing an application for SNAP at your nearest state or county social services office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tracy,

    I suggest that you write up what your condition has been since the representative from the attorney’s office visited, explaining that the relapse is related partly due to having to discuss your past abuse and partly due to the trauma of being around someone you don’t know and send it to the attorney. Also, I suggest that you contact your psychiatrist or therapist to get support in re-stabilizing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Frances,

    I suggest that you call the hearing office to clarify the status of your claim in the post-hearing process. They will not tell you what the decision is if a decision has been made, but it will provide some information about where you are in the process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • It could easily take thirty days to get your medical records and then everything would have to be reviewed and after the decision is made, a decision letter written. So, it is quite possible that you will not get a decision until August. If you do not hear anything by July, you can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear LInda,

    Not being selected for a review means the decision will stand; however, it does not tell you whether the decision was an approval or denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear eLephantinTher00m,

    To be eligible, your established disability date has to be the date last insured or earlier. It does not matter when the decision is made. The decision could be made in 2019 or 2020 and you would still be eligible if your disability onset date was while you were insured.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tracy,

    This response is in reply to both your posts. You won’t know whether or not you have been approved, but as you describe your conditions, it is possible that you will. You might be able to get a preview of the letter sent you by looking online at http://www.ssa.gov. If you are denied, I recommend that you request a copy of your claim file to see the exact reasons for the denial and that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney.

    When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear eLephantinaTher00m,

    If your online status has never shown that a medical decision has been made, I suggest that you call or visit your local office to speak to someone for an explanation. If a medical decision has been made, the status would still show pending until an award letter was sent out.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sarah,

    If the judge finds that you were disabled at one time, he or she will also consider improvement in your condition in determining whether you are still disabled. Also, it should be noted that benefits are not paid for disabilities caused by alcohol abuse; you will have to prove that you were disabled due to your mental illness irrespective of any disability caused by the use of alcohol.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Dear Linda,

    A reconsideration appeal takes from two to five months for a decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear TeryBle,

    I suggest getting in touch with the Alliance for the Mentally Ill to find out if there are any mental health resources for individuals with panic or agoraphobia that keeps them at home, that is, whether there is anyway to get medical attention in your home. Since you do make it out for food, another option might be to find out whether your community has any free or low cost mental health clinics. Perhaps you could get help that way.

    Financially, if your husband’s Social Security benefit is less than $1, 105, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. You would, however, probably have to go to a consultative examination because you have not been seeing a doctor.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sarah,

    Yes, it has been determined that your physical and/or mental health is good enough that you are able to work and perform substantial gainful activity, which is currently $1,170 gross wages or net self-employment. The denial letter likely will not say what the consulting physician said. The letter will say that you can either go back to work you have done in the past or that you can work in a new occupation and will give you a couple example occupations.

    You can request a copy of your claim file and the CE physician’s report will be in the file as well as the specific determination of what your mental and physical abilities are. Getting the file will help you and any Social Security attorney you may consult with decide whether or not to appeal the denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • You are welcome, Diane, and thank you.

  • Dear Linda,

    Requests for reconsideration typically take from two to five months.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    As I mentioned previously, I recommend that you request a copy of your claim file and consult with a Social Security on how best to appeal the denials.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    As indicated earlier, I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file and that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney to assist with your appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diane,

    It is likely your brother will be approved effective January 2016 because his later work was short unsuccessful work attempts and also he did not earn enough for the work to be substantial gainful activity. You just need to get the facts to SSA.

    Fill out the form as if your brother were completing it. Indicate that your brother did not understand what date to claim. Changed the claimed date to the day after he last worked from home in January 2016. Describe what let up to the firing as you described to me. Use the W-2’s to get the names of employers and list each separately. Estimate the dates or at least the number of months or weeks at each job. Attach a copy of the W-2’s and the tax form to show that you are submitting all the W-2’s and explain why he has no pay stubs. Be sure to indicate that these jobs sign twirling and posting ads ended in hospitalization.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Dear Linda,

    The representatives are not supposed to give out decision information over the phone. Please see my response of earlier today to your last post.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    Procedural rules prohibit giving out the decision (approval or denial) over the phone. The first person you spoke to may have broken the rule. If you are in fact denied, I strongly suggest that you that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney to help with your appeal. Also I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file so you can see the exact reasons for the denial and see whether they had all your medical records and

    When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Dear Linda,

    That means that your claim was not sent for a quality assurance review; rather it was probably sent for a review by a physician at the Disability Determination Services (DDS). If that is the case, the examiner recommended a decision, but it will not be finalized until the doctor reviews the decision and your medical evidence. In other words, the decision is still pending. How much longer it takes will depend on how busy the DDS is.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Sarah.

  • Dear Linda,

    I do not have the information you are requesting because approvals and denials are not tracked by Disability Advisor.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    There is no way to know the decision until you are notified.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Dear Linda,

    A certain percentage of claims are randomly selected for review to be sure that the claims examiners are making correct decisions and following correct procedures.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sarah,

    No, if you covered the information in your initial application, no supplemental statement is needed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diane,

    You are welcome. (I am not sure what is meant by “accounting.” I have not heard that term used.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    Please see my response to your first posting of this question.

    Thank you,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    It may mean that a decision was made and then the claim was randomly selected for a quality assurance review to make sure the decision was correct and correctly documented.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Dear Linda,

    I am unable to estimate how long it will take for the agency to complete the review of your claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diane,

    Your brother can sign an SSA-1696 and appoint you his representative only to handle the filing and processing of his claim. (It is the same form people use to appoint an attorney to represent them when filing a claim or appeal.)

    If your brother’s claim is approved and he needs a payee, the determination of need for a payee will be part of the approval. In that circumstance, benefits will not be paid until he has a representative payee. So, if he needs a payee, waiting to apply would not be a viable option.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    Yes, I did. I posted your message. I did not respond because you did not ask a question.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sarah,

    Based on the information you have provided, it is possible that you are disabled due to your depression and it is possible that you could be approved on initial application. If you have not done so as yet, I suggest submitting a statement about the types of problems you had on each of the jobs you have had. I you were let go due to poor attendance or other disability-related problems, you might try to get statements from past supervisors to support your statements.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Dear Linda,

    Your earnings are at a level below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), so they should not interfere with your being found disabled. The write up for unsatisfactory performance can be submitted. It may not be needed because of your lower earnings, but it doesn’t hurt to submit it with a cover letter that explains how your medical condition contributed to the complaint.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    It is unlikely that your employer will be contacted. There are circumstances that employers are contacted in work earnings investigations, but those situations are usually when there is a problem with correct reporting of earnings for insured status or in fraud investigations. Otherwise, your submission of pay stubs is sufficient proof without third-party verification.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    Based on the information in your last post, it seems as if there was a delay in sending your claim to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) in that you were given the information that the DDS examiner received the file on March 24. If that is the case, it could easily take another couple months to get a decision. You might try calling the examiner to point out that took over five months for your claim to be forwarded to DDS and ask if the review can be expedited.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Linda Camagna Simon

      Thank you so much Kay I will do that 😊

    • Linda Camagna Simon

      I spoke to the examiner she said waiting on doc notes from to of my counselors for depression And anxiety…She has MRI results I have spondylolisthesis on low back now going for mid back MRI soon cause that’s where pain starts …dec 5 is when she got paperwork and ssi cause I got denied and she reinstated it cause I don’t have funds in bank…Do u think there’s an approval between my neck and my back and for depression and anxiety …Sorry for being a pain…

      • Dear Linda,

        I am not able to say whether or not you will be approved; however, people are approved for a combination of symptoms that together keep them from working in any occupation. I suggest that you follow up with your counselor to get the requested notes submitted.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Linda Camagna Simon

          Will my working 10 hrs affect my claim?

          • Dear Linda,

            It depends on how much you are earning per hour. If your earnings come to less than $1,170 gross wages and the amount you are working is really the maximum you can work, then the work should not keep you from being approved.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • You are welcome, Linda.

  • Linda Camagna Simon
    • Dear Linda,

      The status just means that no decision has been made on your claim. It is still being reviewed. The status will stay the same until a decision is made.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    It sounds as if they are allowing a lot of time for processing and are talking about when you will get the first payment, not when back benefits would begin to accrue.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Linda Camagna Simon

      Hi Kay, They didn’t say I was approved yet though…I called and left her a message the DDS…not sure what’s going on frustrating cause last time I was denied over the gain and now the medical is there…Thx for your help and time do you work for SSI?Cause you seem to know a lot Thanx again😊

      • Dear Linda,

        You are welcome. I don’t currently work for the Social Security Administration.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Linda Camagna Simon

      I just sent you it just says processing it hast changed not sure…

      • Dear Linda,

        Please see my response to your post of the online status report.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Angela,

    I respond to questions only on the website. I have removed your email address to protect your privacy. I think there may be some confusion or an error. I suggest you call the office that sent you the request for vocational information and let them know that you were approved at a hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Linda,

    I can’t tell what is going on from the information that you have provided. (It would make more sense to me if you had to wait till July for Social Security Disability [SSDI] and to call regarding Supplemental Security Income [SSI].) I suggest that you call the office and find out the reason for the call related to your SSDI and ask for clarification of why your SSI claim is being deferred until July.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diane,

    The correspondence doesn’t seem to indicate any specific decision; however, based on your description of your brother’s condition and the documentation you have been submitting, I would expect him to be approved and I would expect him to need to have a representative payee, which you would apply to be at that time. However, currently, if your brother has appointed you to represent him in filing his claim (completed an SSA-1696 to appoint you), all correspondence regarding his claim should be coming to you. If he hasn’t completed an SSA-1696, he can do so at any time his claim is still pending.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

Read It To Me
Listen to the article with our text to speech feature
Ask the Adivsor
Click for the BBB Business Review of this Online Publications in Orlando FL

Send this to a friend